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photo of Earth House
Photo: Mary Randlett

Earth House

Longbranch, Washington

Earth House

Longbranch, Washington

  • Design Principal

    Jim Olson

Designed in 1968, this house represents the primal connection between humans and their surroundings, allowing its occupants to be inside and outside at the same time. The owner, former Ambassador to Iceland, desired a house that recalled the sod-roof houses found around Reykjavik. The pool and house are on axis with Mount Rainier, paying homage to a treasured natural monument. The building is cut into the hillside so that the planted roof plane seamlessly joins the building to the surrounding landscape, making the entire dwelling seem like an excavated sanctuary in the natural environment.

I like the idea of the caveman analogy—you go into the cave where it's dark and you’re one with the earth, then you go out to the edge and you look out over the landscape. This house made me realize that I am connected to nature to my core. Jim Olson, FAIA




Sunset and AIA Western Home Awards, Home Honor Award



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Mills, Dale Douglas. “Pacific Northwest Living.” The Seattle Times, 9 Dec. 1979, 70-79. Print.


“The roof is a lawn.” Sunset, Oct. 1973, 86-87. Print.